Bachelor's programs in illustration are four-year programs that examine the principles and methods of digital and traditional illustration. The illustration major typically spends a significant amount of time in the studio learning illustration skills, including drawing, painting and computer-based illustration. Many programs also include classroom-based coursework in art history and art theory, and general education classes are part of the curriculum as well. A final project or exhibition may be required for graduation.
Most undergraduate illustration degree programs require applicants to possess a high school diploma or the equivalent. As a studio art discipline, many illustration programs require applicants to submit a portfolio of creative work that may be used in the admissions process. Some schools require the submission of ACT or SAT scores, though this is not a universal requirement.
Bachelor's Degrees in Illustration
Coursework for illustration majors includes comprehensive training in practical illustration techniques and practices. Students are expected to learn to use computer programs for editing illustrations as well as drawing techniques for animals. Common courses in undergraduate illustration degree programs include the following:
- Introduction to drawing and illustration
- 3-D design
- Introduction to painting
- Fundamentals of digital illustration
- History of art and illustration
- Introduction to color theory
Popular Career Options
Graduates of illustration degree programs are qualified for artistic work in a variety of settings. An illustration major prepares graduates for creative positions with magazines, newspapers, advertising firms and the entertainment industry in the following careers:
- Cartoonist or graphic novel illustrator
- Book and children's book illustrator
- Film or television animator
- Advertising illustrator for periodicals, direct mail or greeting card companies
- Freelance artist
Continuing Education Information
In a field where the many careers value a strong portfolio over a specific degree, many students pursue further degree programs primarily to improve their craft. Master's degree programs in illustration are widely available. Generally, students interested in art education or art history pursue Ph.D. programs.
Undergraduate students interested in illustration can look into Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts programs, which provide extensive hands-on training in illustration. Graduates of these programs may go on to become cartoonists, animators, book illustrators, and more.